According to a recent report from The Knot, the average American couple spends $32,641 on their wedding. That's a big outlay, but another new survey reveals the degree to which the spending really doesn't stop with the couple.
Wedding guests should be prepared to spend hundreds, sometimes even thousands just to attend, says a new report from Bankrate.com. Those numbers rise even higher for members of the wedding party and people who take part in wedding-adjacent events such as bachelor/bachelorette parties and wedding showers.
How expensive is it?
The cost of attending a wedding rises in proportion to how close you are with the people getting married, according to the survey of 2,228 adults. Those attending a wedding for more distant friends and family members spend an average of $372. That includes every facet of the event, including, gift, travel, any associated secondary parties, and clothing-related expenses.
If you're attending a wedding for a close friend or family member, but are not in the wedding, the cost goes up. Guests attending those weddings and wedding-related events spend an average of $628, according to this survey.
The biggest spenders, however, are those who are actually in the wedding party. They can expect to spend an average of $728 on the wedding and related festivities. It's even pricier if you happen to be in the wedding party for a Northeast wedding where, according to this survey, the average all-in cost comes to $1,070.
"Wedding season can be a stressful time, and not just for the bride and groom," said Bankrate.com analyst Robert Barba in a press release. "While it's fun to celebrate with friends and loved ones, the associated costs add up fast and can wreak havoc on your budget if you're not prepared."
It's not just gifts
Gift-giving is a basic fact of attending a wedding, but how much people give varies based on age. Millennials (ages 18-37) give the least, spending an average of $57 on wedding gifts when in the wedding party, $47 for close friends/family when not in the wedding party, and $48 for more distant relationships, according to this survey.
That's below the overall averages across all age brackets. Those come in at $153 for people in the wedding party, $116 for those attending the wedding of a close friend or relative, and $63 for someone attending a wedding of a more -distant friend or relative.
Make a budget
The challenge with a wedding is that the overall cost can sneak up on you. Expenses tend to be spread out over at least a few months, making it hard to know what your full cost will be.
"It's imperative to start planning early -- open a dedicated savings account to start your own wedding fund," said Barba. "However, you shouldn't go into debt to celebrate others. If you feel you can't afford the financial burden of attending, think twice before RSVPing."
In addition, in the case of close friends and family, it's also OK to bring up your cost concerns. If someone wants you in their wedding party, they may well work with you to defray the cost. That's not a comfortable discussion to have, but in many cases your participation and presence are worth more than any gift.
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